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Update Regarding Lane Filtering (addressing some comments and grievances)

When the MRAWA announced the upcoming lane filtering laws, many were upset, as were the MRAWA committee and members about ‘Freeways’ being excluded.

As far as the ban on lane filtering on freeways is concerned, we were totally blindsided and shocked by this clause. Our stance was like many, what is the difference between Roe Highway for example, and the Freeway?

In our subsequent Facebook post we recommended (quote) ‘send emails to the Road Safety Commission and the Minister letting them know your thought on this matter. (State Election next month) Email addresses below.’

And it worked, the RSC initiated a meeting with the MRAWA President Jeff Thomas and Safety Officer Dave Wright

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LANE FILTERING REGULATION UPDATE:

The President Jeff Thomas and Safety Officer Dave Wright from the Motorcycle Riders Association of WA held a productive meeting on Monday 8th January 2021 with the Road Safety Commissioner, Adrian Warner and Assistant Commissioner Paul Zanetti from the WA Police Force who has responsibility for the State Traffic Branch of Police, this followed a request for the meeting from the MRAWA and emails from many concerned motorcycle riders, regarding the proposed legislation changes to lane filtering in WA freeways.

The Minister for Road Safety is sympathetic to the concerns we have raised on behalf of motorcycle riders regarding the restriction on lane filtering on freeways but given the upcoming general election, the Government is required to assume a ‘caretaker’ role, which limits the actions and decisions a government can take in this period. The Minister has asked the Road Safety Commission to prepare further options for consideration after the election result is clear and a new government has been formed.

As a next step we are meeting with representatives from the Road Safety Commission and WA Police to discuss the new regulations in more detail, with a view to identifying the specific changes that we want presented to the Minister for Road Safety for consideration as soon as possible after the election.”

Motorcycle Riders Association of WA Inc.

Jeff Thomas President

Dave Wright Safety Officer

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The points discussed were –

– Remove ‘freeway’ as an exclusion zone of permissible lane filtering

Once the new government is formed after the election, we will continue to lobby the clauses we do not agree with.

One thing on the agenda is – Remove the ‘between heavy vehicles’ clause.

We responded on Facebook that it was currently illegal to lane filter, that was Peter Butler’s understanding, because over the years riders have been charged with various offences relating to lane filtering. Our apologies for misquoting the actual current legislation in our initial social media responses.

Rick Gill stated in his response “the mistake we made was to try and cloak it as good news”. The exclusion of freeways was not good news, we can own that, our bad.

Some say we should have left the lane filtering as it was, leave it as a ‘grey’ area. We do not agree.

Over the years there has been hundreds of requests to ratify lane filtering as legal, and hundreds of people charged with various offences relating to lane filtering.

Why bring it into line with others states some asked?

Because eventually the states will adopt uniform regulations, and we believe we could help set the standard for that.

Some say the speed limit of 30kmh with lane filtering is too low, we don’t agree, our stance is for safety reasons. We know that some of our members would rather see it at 40 or 50 kmh, and as individuals we think those speeds are acceptable, but we also know the greater the speed variance between the bike to the car, the greater the risk of an accident and injury. (We didn’t say this out loud but here’s the reality, the police are unlikely to be able to gauge minor speed variances anyway, a bike in such close proximity to other vehicles, but riding safe and respectful is just common sense, and courteous.)

We also need to be mindful to foster the relationship between car drivers and bikers. Lane splitting at high speed just scares drivers, creates a negative attitude, and puts everyone at risk.

It has been suggested in other motorcycle groups the MRAWA should consult more with the bigger biker fraternity.

Respectfully, we do communicate.

Case in point, we did a survey in October 2020 asking motorcyclists for their input onto the issues surrounding motorcyclists. We sent email campaigns, we publicised on Facebook, we asked people to share, and we had a fairly good response with 442 survey submissions.

Of those 442 submissions only 37% provided their correct email address. It was great we had the response we did, but if people give us bogus emails like ‘someone@somewhere.com.au’ then we can’t keep people up to date. Your freedom of choice, but respectfully, don’t complain when you don’t know what is going on.

We then held an open Forum as a part of Motorcycle Safety Week October 2020.

We invited that entire list, 442 people (less bogus emails), PLUS our complete database, AND to Facebook, AND to various Facebook groups, and we had 70 people attend. Only 70! Yup, so clearly people want to have their say and input (sarcasm intended).

All our meetings have minutes, we have various monthly reports, all are publicised, both on our website, and as an email broadcast, and on social media, so we are totally transparent.

So, as has been suggested we should do, we already do, we have been communicating these discussions with the wider public and properly disclosing their representation to the government bodies involved.

It was stated in other social post threads that we should, and we quote ‘there are plenty of talented guys in and around the community that can help with various issues’, and ‘Use some of that RSC money (if you can) to host events and get togethers to discuss these issues, advertise them with plenty of notice and try to reach a broad audience. You might just get what you need and the community will benefit too.’

Yes, we agree, and all of the above was funded by the RSC by way of a grant, so yes, we need more people to put their hand up to attend and contribute.

In regard to RSC sponsorship, they’re actually sponsoring you, as a biker.

These grants the MRAWA apply for, are to further the cause for safety for bikers. To get these grants, the application process is arduous, we have to show how the funds are to be used, we have to then prove what we used that grant for as well, and any unused monies are returned. Can you imagine the amount of effort this takes? It’s quite insulting, and showing a total lack of understanding to say ‘backroom deals have gone on’. We personally have no monetary gain.

Did you see the very recent video Dave Wright did, regarding the 7 biker deaths in January 2021?

( https://youtu.be/eldJKt3HN14 )

That was initiated and funded by the RSC! Why? Because they are concerned about the rate of deaths in the biking fraternity. I’ll repeat that, the RSC initiated that video, and financed it. Think what that took, Dave Wright took time out of his day, no monetary gain, to do this video. Why? Coz he gives a shit!

There is no ‘collusion’ and to think that really shows a clear lack of understanding on how funding and the system works.  The word ‘partnership’ simply means ‘grant’. To think there is any conspiracy is tin foil hat conspiracy stuff.

And do we always agree with the RSC, no!

Case in point, the recent ruling by the RSC on motorbikes using bus lanes, after what was a 3 year trial. You have no idea how upset we were when the RSC blindsided us with opposing the ‘Motorbike use of bus lanes’. They cited research they had as a basis for that, of which we do not agree. We thought it was a slam dunk for approval, especially given that it’s already approved in the east.

So when this was announced on the RSC Facebook wall, there was a torrent of social media posts slamming the RSC for that, a big outrage, and we voiced our strong opinion on that too. But what changed? Nothing.

What are the general biker fraternity now doing about it? Nothing.

What is the MRAWA doing about it? Something.

We are going through the research they have used as the basis for shutting it down. Our intention is to find issue with that and have that ruling overturned. A work in progress, as it seems to be with bureaucracy.

This work takes stamina, and diligence. All bikers, regardless of whether you agree on all points, should at least acknowledge those who have served on the MRAWA, it is time consuming, sometimes frustrating, and mostly a thankless job, and quite disheartening when you get slammed with personal jibes. We understand the frustration, we share that frustration, but to make personal attacks, just not appropriate.

We have seen it before, at the next meeting, we will have a few extra people turn up, state their case like they are the resident experts, and we’ll likely never hear from them again, but they’ll be the first to bleet if something happens that they don’t like or agree with.

For others to suggest we are lacking because we did not attend their meetings to tell them what is happening is preposterous. We are all volunteers, busy lives, already taking time out to try and make a difference. You know we exist, just support us by being a paid member, or attend an MRA meeting.

We have seen suggestions of ‘ride on parliament’ or ‘ride on the freeway as one big group’ suggestions. That would simply get people offside with bikers, all the bikers go home feeling good about themselves, and nothing changes, yet they continue to complain.

The only suggestion we have is to join as one in a proactive group and learn how to challenge the current laws and status in an ordered manner.

If people feel to start their own group, we encourage you, but good luck with sustaining that. The reality is people start with good intentions of committing, but life gets in the way, people get disillusioned, sidetracked, or they simply do not know how to, and the power of the group fades.

MRAWA has existed for 20+ years, and we have a stellar group of riders, yes, we ride, and are advocates for a better voice for riders, and trying to get bureaucracy to listen.

There were derogatory comments made about the MRAWA having low membership numbers. The 130+ members are actual paid members. Does not mean we are any less committed.

– We have 1300+ people following us on Facebook

– We have connections with the majority of influencers in motorcycling

– We have connections with the various government agencies that influence the government

We would like to acknowledge the riders and friends that invested time into sending the emails to Road Safety Commission and the Minister.

It just shows the power of the collective.

MRAWA is a non-profit organisation that serves & represents the interests of Western Australian motorcyclists.

The MRAWA is a dedicated group of volunteers who fight for better outcomes for all motorcycle riders. We work with, and lobby, Federal and State Government agencies as well as local councils on behalf of all riders in Western Australia.

Our catch cry is ‘Let Those Who Ride Decide’.

The more members we have, the more we participate, the bigger our voice will be.

If you have any issues that need pursuing, please come to a general meeting, and raise that, or just contact us.

We would like to acknowledge the RSC and Minister for being so responsive, and receptive to all bikers, and being open to amending this new legislation.

If you want a voice, join a group that really does have biker’s interest at heart.

All said and done, we are all bikers, we love riding, and we all just want to get home safely.

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MRAWA is a non-profit organisation that serves & represents the interests of Western Australian motorcyclists. Become a Member: Your member's fee help us take actions on your behalf. HELP make a difference for ALL riders in WA! Be part of the peak motorcycle body working with Federal and State Government agencies as well as local councils on behalf of all riders in WA.

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